Climate change is already disrupting US forests and coasts – here’s what we’re seeing at 5 long-term research sites

Christie A. BahlaiJohn J. BattlesNatalie L. CleavittTimothy J. FaheyDavid Samuel JohnsonDouglas A. LandisJoe SullivanLaura Templeton and Natalie S. Van Doorn The Conversation, August 3rd 2021

Record-breaking heat waves and drought have left West Coast rivers lethally hot for salmon, literally cooked millions of mussels and clams in their shells and left forests primed to burn. The extraordinary severity of 2021’s heat and drought, and its fires and floods, has many people questioning whether climate change, fueled by human actions, is progressing even faster than studies have predicted and what that means for the future.

As ecologists, we have watched climate change play out over decades at long-term research sites in forests, fields and coastal areas across the U.S.

A recent series of five papers in the journal Ecosphere presents more than 25 case studies from these sites, providing a unique perspective on the changes underway and what’s likely ahead as the planet continues to warm.

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